Editor’s note – Monthly Tickets is a CNN Travel series that focuses on some of the most interesting topics in the travel world. In June, we are going to the sky to see the latest developments in the interior of the aircraft, including those we are working to change the way we fly.
Hamburg (CNN) – Winners of this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards include a design for “floating” airplane furniture and a cabin concept that can give each passenger their own personal fridge.
The prestigious aviation awards were announced at a ceremony at the 2022 Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, Germany, highlighting innovation and creativity in aircraft interior.
Speaking to CNN Travel at the awards, Lucas Kestner, president of the Crystal Cabin Awards Association, said a team of industry experts spent a day questioning each submission before reaching their decision. The judges discussed the creativity and ingenuity of the ideas, and also took into account the reactions of airlines and potential passengers.
Kestner says not all of the finalist’s products are on or near the market. Many are still just concepts. But the “underlying question of most decisions by the jury” is, he explains, “is it something that has a real chance to fly?”
‘Floating’ cabin furniture
Speaking to CNN Travel earlier in the day at AIX, the Teague team explained that the idea behind the concept was to “open up more space” in the cabin, combining all the furniture with a track attached to the sidewall and wing.
The Tig team said the idea started three years ago at AIX when airplane designers were chatting over beer. Designers and engineers realized they were all facing the same problem – how to free up space in an airplane cabin without losing seats in the process. They set about dreaming for a solution.
Meanwhile, Collins Aerospace’s passenger fridge concept, called SpaceChiller, won the award in the passenger comfort category. The Crystal Cabin jury was intrigued by Collins’ claim that the refrigerator would use half the power of a traditional airplane refrigerator design. The capacity of the fridge can be measured up or down, allowing a mini version to be placed within the reach of a potential passenger, which was also a draw for the judges.
The Crystal Cabin Awards are often seen cropping up some of its most innovative submissions in the university category, where the next generation of aviation designers present their decisions about the future of aviation.
Kestner told CNN Travel that it’s always interesting to see where the former nominee ends up in this category.
This year’s student winner is Ken Kirtland of the Georgia Institute of Technology, who dreamed of a portal called zero-emission electric aircraft that would use less-used regional airports and be able to fly at lower altitudes.
With airplane passengers increasingly calling for more sustainable options, and forcing the industry to address the stark realities of their carbon footprint, Kirtland’s design caught the eye of crystal cabin judges.
The portal’s sleek interior also contributed to Kirtland’s victory – the idea is that the cabin will have premium seats dripping around the cabin, allowing passengers to enjoy beautiful views of the sky.
For Kestner, the university category summarizes what Crystal Cabin Awards is all about.
“We want to promote innovation and just create a discussion on or encourage the passenger experience,” he said.
Winners, Crystal Cabin Awards 2022:
Winning Cabin Concepts: Tig and Nordum “Elevated”
Winning Cabin Systems: Kelly Nova “Cordillera”
Winner Health and Safety: Saffron Cabin “Fire Resistant Cargo Container”
Winner Passenger Comfort: Collins Aerospace “Spacechiller”
Winner IFEC and Digital Services: Anuvu coop. Southwest Airlines “Dedicated Space”
Winning Materials and Ingredients: Thales Avionics “Pulse”
Winning Durable Cabin: Diab “100% Recyclable Panels for Cabin Interior”
Winning University: Ken Kirtland “Portal”